Sunday, October 15, 2017

Vermilion Flycatcher

I got a late start and it was almost 10:00 AM when I returned to Lake Creek trail this morning to see if the Great Kiskadee was still there. I ran into Stephen McDonald again along with some other birders who were looking for the kiskadee as well. They found it a little further downstream, and as an added bonus they found another rare bird, a Vermilion Flycatcher!

Vermilion Flycatchers are a southwestern species that rarely makes an appearance in the Austin area. There are usually a couple sightings on Lake Creek Trail per year, and often they are first-year birds. This was a first-year female (only the males are vermilion), with a yellow wash to its belly and vent area. Next year the yellow will turn to pink. I got this photo of it hunting insects from one of the baseball field fences in Town and Country:

Vermilion Flycatcher

After I photographed the Vermilion Flycatcher, I waited around for the Great Kiskadee. I heard it and briefly saw it twice as it flew to a different tree. The second time it flew back towards the footbridge. I  followed it and was lucky to see it come out and perch on the wires over the creek. I got this poor photo:

Great Kiskadee on wire

It stayed on the wire for a few minutes, sometimes turning its head sideways to look at the ground (I assume). I looked away for a minute, and when I looked back it was gone and a Cooper's Hawk flew over the wires. I didn't hear or see it again.

A third flycatcher nearby was this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, on its way south. Soon the scissortails will be gone for the winter.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Here's my complete bird list on eBird.

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